A scrumptious breakfast casserole is a pretty good way to rouse folks from warm beds. This one hits all the right notes for a savory breakfast: cheesy, nourishing, a bit smoky (thanks to the prosciutto), and plainly delicious. It also happens to be darn easy to make.
This particular breakfast casserole is known as a strata. It’s in the same family as a quiche or frittata, with one little difference: You stir torn or cut pieces of bread into the beaten eggs before popping it into the oven to bake.
BEST BREAD FOR BREAKFAST CASSEROLES
You can use a fresh loaf of practically any crusty bread—Italian, levain, or baguette, for example. Or, make use of any slightly stale bits and bobs you find in your bread basket. The moisture of the eggs works magic on a tired loaf, so nobody will be the wiser.
There is no shortage of good-for-you ingredients in this wholesome recipe.
- Several cups of fresh vegetables
- Protein-rich eggs
- Milk and cottage cheese, which replace traditionally used cream or half-and-half
This results in a breakfast casserole that’s lighter in calories and saturated fat than many others you’ll find. Adding a few ounces of prosciutto along with sharp cheddar gives the dish a big pop of flavor and just enough decadence to make it feel special. You can bump up the nutrition even further by making it with whole grain rather than standard white bread.
WAYS TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE
What’s particularly appealing about this casserole is that it lends itself to endless variations:
- Use diced zucchini or tiny broccoli florets in place of the asparagus.
- Swap in Gruyere or feta instead of cheddar.
- Use cooked, diced sausage, country ham, or crumbled bacon in place of prosciutto.
MAKE A VEGETARIAN BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
The other option here is to make the dish entirely vegetarian. Simply leave out the prosciutto, using one teaspoon of smoked paprika in its place to give the strata that smoky flavor. Alternatively, use a crumbly plant-based sausage in lieu of prosciutto.
MAKE IT A MEAL
If you’re serving this for breakfast, a platter of whatever fruit is in season makes a nice side dish. If winging it isn’t your thing, you can try this recipe for Strawberry Nectarine Fruit Salad or this Blueberry Peach Fruit Salad with Thyme. You can also toss together a sheet pan of potatoes and roast them alongside the strata until tender and golden.
If serving this for brunch or lunch, a salad of tender greens with this Basil Dressing makes a perfect pairing. While this is always best served warm from the oven, it is also tasty at room temperature or even cold.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS FOR BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
It will take you no more than 30 minutes to pull this casserole together and get it into the oven.
Alternatively, you can assemble the dish the night before, but skip the last step of topping it with cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and stash it in the fridge until morning. Pull the casserole out a good half hour before you’re ready to bake; add the cheese on top, and put it in the oven!
STORING AND FREEZING BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
If you have leftover strata or want to make two casseroles and freeze one, go for it. Bake it, then let it cool completely before wrapping several times with plastic and storing it in the freezer.
It should keep well for up to a month. To reheat, remove the plastic and put it straight from freezer to oven at 350°F until warmed through.
KICK-START YOUR MORNING WITH THESE BREAKFAST CASSEROLES
Easy Breakfast Casserole with Prosciutto Recipe
You can make and bake this savory strata all in one fell swoop, or assemble and refrigerate it the night before (but leave the cheese off until morning). Pull it out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking; add the cheese, and pop it into the oven.
If you have vegetarians at your table, feel free to skip the prosciutto and add one teaspoon of smoked paprika instead.
The strata holds up well as a leftover, so enjoy it for breakfast the next day, or pack up a slice for your desk lunch.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 big handfuls tender greens, such as arugula, dandelion greens, baby kale, or spinach (tough stems removed)
- 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 2 packed cups cubed crusty bread, such as levain, baguette, or Italian bread (slightly stale is ok)
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
- 1 cup 2% milk (or whatever kind you have in the fridge)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups (3 oz) grated cheddar, divided
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Sauté the vegetables: Add oil to a 12-inch ovenproof skillet set over medium heat. I use cast iron, but any ovenproof skillet will do.
Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the greens, asparagus, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until the greens wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3 Add the prosciutto and bread: Tear the prosciutto slices into smaller pieces and distribute over the vegetables. Add the bread and stir everything together. Leave that to cool while you whisk the eggs.
4 Whisk the eggs: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, milk, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir again. Pour the eggs over the vegetables and scatter the remaining cheese on top.
5 Bake the casserole: Place the casserole in the oven and bake until it is just set with no obvious liquid remaining, about 35 minutes. It should be a little jiggly. Keep in mind that it will continue to cook a bit once it’s out of the oven.
6 Serve: Cool for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
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